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Wisconsin Underage Tobacco, Vape Sales Rise in 2023

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reports that underage tobacco and vape sales increased to 13.6% in 2023 from 11.9% in 2022. These are the results of the Synar Survey, an annual statewide assessment of the retailer violation rate for underage sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In 2019, the rate was 5.5% and reached its highest point in 2021 when the rate was 14.1%. On average, underage tobacco and vape sales have increased 140% since 2019.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Synar Survey monitored tobacco and vape sales to those under age 18. However, the three most recent surveys monitored sales to those under age 21. This follows a change in federal law that raised the federal legal tobacco sales age from 18 to 21 at the end of 2019. Wisconsin remains one of only eight states that has not changed its state law to match the federal law, which has caused confusion and enforcement challenges statewide.

The following communications tools are now available for local coalitions to use on this topic:

Questions? Please contact Gina Larsen for media relations inquiries or Ashley Voss for social media/resource assistance.

Synar Survey graph (2019-2023)